Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Would you like to see the sheep your sweater was made of?

Flocks gives customers details about the individual animals that provided the wool for their sweaters and mittens.

Every item in young Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma’s collection can be traced back to its source. Since one sheep supplies exactly enough wool for one sweater, each sweater is tagged with a specific animal’s ID number, and comes with a certificate: the animal's passport. Information provided includes breed, weight, year and place of birth, and a picture of the sheep. Sweaters are priced from EUR 475.

So far, Meindertsma has only used non-dyed materials, sticking to the natural colours of sheep, rabbits, goats and alpacas. She's planning to use coloured yarn for upcoming collections, and provenance of colours will be included on separate labels. A blue scarf, for example, could be dyed with natural indigo, with information provided about the type of plant the dye was extracted from and where it was harvested.

All of this adds up to an appealing story — one that customers can share with friends, and one that (re)connects them with the source of the products they consume. Which makes Flocks a great example of the still made here trend: products that have a sense of place or provenance are coveted by consumers for a variety of reasons, from environmental concerns to shifting perceptions of what constitutes status. More on that in’s still made here briefing.

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